The Competition Bureau of Canada has published the The Little Black Book of Scams 2nd Edition and it is available online at https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04333.htm. The information is invaluable and should be of interest to virtually everyone. Over the next few months we will be publishing the information from the The Little Black Book of Scams 2nd Edition, one scam at a time. Last week we published Purchase of Merchandise Scams. Today the topic is:
Phishing and Smishing Scams
Be on the lookout. Messages are easily fabricated!
As we spend more time online, fraudsters are getting more creative with scams in the digital space. Phishing is when you get an unsolicited email that claims to be from a legitimate organization, such as financial institutions, businesses or government agencies. Scammers ask you to provide or verify, either via email or by clicking on a web link, personal or financial information, like your credit card number, passwords and social insurance number. Smishing is the same thing, except is occurs via text messages. These messages often copy the tone and logo of organizations you trust and usually include a call to action. They take many shapes and forms but the bottom line is that they seek your personal details.
Tips to protect yourself:
- Know that reputable organizations will never ask for your personal information through email or text.
- Ignore communications from unknown contacts.
- Delete suspicious messages as they can carry computer viruses
- Don’t reply to spam messages, even to unsubscribe, and don’t open any attachments or follow any links.
- To verify a hyperlink without clicking, hover your mouse over it. Carefully check if it is accurate.
- Update your antivirus software on all devices.
- Never use the phone number or email address provided in the suspicious message – use contact information listed on verified websites.
If you suspect a scam, always report it.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, managed by the RCMP, the Competition Bureau, and the Ontario Provincial Police, has plenty of information on fraud. Power up today by visiting www.antifraudcentre.ca!
Additional organizations to contact depending on the situation:
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501 www.antifraudcentre.ca
Competition Bureau 1-800-348-5358 www.competitionbureau.gc.ca
Consumer Affairs www.consumerhandbook.ca
Securities Administrator www.securities-administrators.ca
Ontario Provincial Police 1-888-310-1122